Kansas State isn't nearly as good as they were last year, but this still figured to be a serious test for Baylor because they had never won there before, going 0-4 at the Little Apple since the Big 8 merged with the SWC. The total yards were almost dead even. K-State finished with 445, of which 327 were on the ground; while Baylor gained 451 yards, with 342 of those coming via the pass on just 13 completions. The Wildcats did a lot of things they wanted to, holding an 80-59 edge in plays and dominating time of possession (39:24-20:36). But after taking a 25-21 lead, they made too many mistakes, eventually allowing Baylor to escape with the victory.
It may not be rule #1 in the handbook for being a WR, but it certainly ranks near the top: You can't drop the ball on 3rd down. And after Reese broke that rule early in the 2nd quarter, there was a shot of the senior WR on the bench hanging his head - no doubt disappointed because he knows he's too good of a player to make a mistake like that and let the team down. His drop of a pass on 3rd and 9 (he started to run before securing the ball) meant the Bears would fail to score for the 2nd consecutive possession - unheard of during their 4-0 start, in which they scored at least 4 TD in the 1st quarter of all 4 games. But Tevin wasn't down for long. On the 2nd play of the Bears' next possession he got behind the K-State secondary, adjusted to the pass without breaking stride, made the catch and took it 93 yards to the house (photo below) to give Baylor a 14-7 lead. Now that's more like it! It was the 2nd longest TD reception in Baylor history.
At that point the Wildcats had all the momentum, but it took just one play to change the momentum. After the Bears ran the ball on 4 straight plays, the K-State safety bit on a play-action fake on the 5th play, allowing Reese to once again get wide open deep, and his 54-yard TD catch (photos below) put Baylor back in front 28-25 with 14:33 remaining. After the teams both punted on their next drives, the Wildcats drove to the Baylor 24 - only to miss a FG attempt with 6:49 to play. And their next drive ended with a bad INT thrown by QB Daniel Sams on 2nd and 2 with 3:48 to go. The Bears cashed that in with a 5-play, 39-yard drive - all on the ground - scoring a TD with 1:16 to go to put the game out of reach.
Sams rushed for 199 yards in the game but needs to become more of a threat as a passer for the K-State offense to be more potent. Sick senior CB K.J. Morton (photo below, tackling Sams) finished with 3 tackles (2-1) and 1 PBU; but with K-State running so much, Baylor's other senior CB with dreads - Joe Williams - didn't play much. Williams had a big game against the Wildcats last year but had no stats in this one. Senior RB John Hubert, whose sick dreads you could not see because they were hidden underneath a Coach Snyder mandated oversized purple skull cap, rushed for 90 yards on 15 carries for the Wildcats, who are now 2-4. If you have a couple of minutes, you can watch the highlights of the game (from a Baylor perspective) by clicking this link: http://www.baylorbears.com/allaccess/?media=410909 ..... With this hurdle successfully cleared, the Bears, now 5-0, figure to remain undefeated heading into November.
I remember the time many blue moons ago when my 8th grade basketball coach, sensing his team wasn't fired up enough for the 9:15 Saturday morning tipoff, doing something he had never done before. We were in a group of 6 teams - no playoffs, just a single round robin schedule - and what were expected to be the two best teams in the group were about to meet in the 2nd (or was it the 3rd?) week of the schedule. A couple of minutes before tipoff the coach interrupted our pre-game warmups, called us back into the locker room and emphatically let it be known that "THIS IS THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!"
That's what I was thinking about while watching Rutgers and Louisville begin Week 7 with a crucial Thursday night contest. The two teams met in Week 14 last season in a game that decided the Big East title, so I thought it was stupid for the AAC to schedule them to play so early this year. With most of the rest of the teams in the league looking more like pretenders than contenders, this very well could have been the championship game. The Cardinals started fast, slowed down, then hung on for a 24-10 home victory that improved them to 6-0.
The game looked like it was going to be just another Louisville blowout after they scored on 3 of their first 4 possessions to take a 17-0 lead. But then the Cardinals went INT, blocked FG attempt, and fumble (by senior RB Senorise Perry) on their next three, and the Scarlet Knights closed to within 17-10. Louisville failed to score again later when star QB Teddy Bridgewater fumbled while being sacked, ending a drive that had reached the Rutgers 5-yard line with 10:06 remaining in the game. But the Cardinals' defense wouldn't let the offense lose the game.
In the final 10 minutes we were treated to sideline shots of both junior S Calvin Pryor and junior CB Terell Floyd with their helmets off - always a good thing considering how very sick their dreads are, but especially so in these cases because they both had just picked off passes. Pryor's 2nd INT of the season got the ball back for Louisville right after Bridgewater's fumble. And after the Cardinals yet again failed to cash that in (another missed FG), Floyd got his 1st INT of the season (photo below) to end Rutgers' next drive with 5:29 to play. Finally the Cardinals then went 60 yards in 5 plays - including a 42-yard run by Perry - and scored with 2:27 to go to put the game away. That big run by Perry made him the first RB this season to rush for more than 100 yards against Rutgers.
Sophomore RB Tion Green was in the spotlight for Cincinnati in the AAC's Friday night game on ESPN - although you most likely didn't know he has dreads. The lack of photos of both Green and RB Hosey Williams on the UC website had been driving me crazy, but I think I've got it figured out now. Williams, the starting RB for the Bearcats prior to this week, had dreads last season when he was in junior college but is an ex-dread now. And it looked like Green was one too. Last season if you looked closely at Green from the back, you could see he might have had dreads under his helmet. But this year you see nothing there, so I figured he had cut them off. But after finally finding a video of him from earlier this season, it appears that he still has his dreads, but he's got them so severely reduced that they don't look like dreads (unless you have a close-up view). We can only hope Tion's not planning to keep his dreads this way all season - because it's no fun seeing them the way they are now. Normally #3 on the depth chart, Green carried 18 times against Temple and nearly made the dread stars list, finishing with 91 yards and scoring his 3rd and 4th TD of the season as the Bearcats won 38-20.
The good times continue to roll for Tulane. The Green Wave improved to 3-0 in CUSA West (5-2 overall) after a ridiculous 36-33 home victory over East Carolina in 3 overtimes. Well, it was ridiculous if you're an ECU fan. On drives that reached the Tulane 4, 13, 3, 2, and 9-yard line, all the Pirates had to show for it was 4 field goals. The one drive they didn't get a FG (the one to the 3-yard line) ended with a 99-yard pick 6 TD for the Green Wave on 1st down. The Pirates finished with a 543-310 advantage in total yards (with QB Shane Carden passing for a school record 480 yards) but couldn't overcome their red zone woes. Yet they stayed in the game because Tulane's offense didn't do anything either.
Look who's 2-0 in the AAC (besides Louisville) - the South Florida Bulls. What?!? Winless and seemingly clueless in their first 4 games, the Bulls took their 2nd straight in AAC play, winning at Connecticut 13-10. But before you start saving money for those Orange Bowl tickets, Bulls fans, please note that a team cannot continue to live on non-offensive touchdowns alone. That's right, the Bulls have won these 2 games without a single TD by their lousy offense. In this game the Bulls' offense gained all of 228 total yards. A drive in the 2nd quarter lasted 15 plays and yet ended with a punt because they never made it into FG range. That's almost impossible to do. Playing without their #1 QB and #1 RB (due to injuries), the Bulls moved the ball just enough to get 2 FGs. That plus a 44-yard scoop and score by the defense was enough to beat UConn, which is now 0-5.
Freshman WR Tony Stevens had 3 catches for 43 yards, including a 22-yarder for his 1st TD in an Auburn uniform in a 62-3 blowout of Western Carolina ..... Junior CB Steven Nelson had a game high 9 tackles (6-3), 1 PBU, and his 5th INT of the season for Oregon State, which went on a 28-0 run in the 4th quarter to win at Washington State 52-24 ..... Senior WR Devon Smith took a punt return 77 yards to the house in the 2nd quarter and had a 35-yard reception late in the 4th quarter (photo on right, against coverage by sophomore CB Cre'Von LeBlanc) to move the ball into range for the game-winning FG for Marshall in a 24-23 road win over FAU; junior LB Jermaine Holmes had 8 tackles (7-1) and his 1st INT of the season for the Thundering Herd ..... Senior DE Davon Coleman had 4 tackles (2-2), 2.5 TFL, and a half sack for a safety on defense, and had a 1-yard catch for his 1st career TD on offense for Arizona State in a 54-13 home win over Colorado ..... Senior S Marqueston Huff had 10 tackles (8-2) and a FR in the red zone for Wyoming in a 38-31 home win over New Mexico ..... Sophomore RB Travis Greene (photo on left) (15 carries for 99 yards) needed 1 more yard to make the dread stars list and 2 more points for the win as Bowling Green lost a tough one on the road 21-20 to Mississippi State ..... And junior RB Darrin Reaves rushed for 43 yards and 2 TD, senior LB D.J. White had a team high 10 tackles (8-2), and junior CB Jimmy Jean got his 2nd INT of the season in the end zone on a 3rd and goal play as UAB won a tough one at FIU 27-24.
IN THE FCS
If TFL's are your thing, I hope you saw the OVC battle between Tennessee State and Jacksonville State (it wasn't televised). There were 25 tackles for loss in the game, 14 of them by the defense ranked #1 (statistically) in the FCS - that being Tennessee State. On their Week 8 visit to JSU last season the Tigers' undefeated season came to an end. This year, same place, the Tigers got revenge, improving to 6-1 (3-0 in the OVC) with a satisfying 31-15 victory that spoiled JSU's homecoming. The Gamecocks dropped to 5-2, 1-2. Averaging 243 rushing yards per game, JSU was a held to a humbling 21 yards on 34 carries. In all JSU gained 292 total yards, 174 below their average.
I wasn't able to save any of the photos I saw of the game; but it sure looks like the dreads are flowing again at TSU (after it seemed like everybody had reduced dreads last year). If so, the Tigers will have at least three candidates for the dread all-America team. One of them was a key contributor to the this victory, as senior TE Wesley Samuels had TD catches of 13 and 10 yards, one of them being the last highlight in the video (link below) of a few of the game's highlights.
JSU is no stranger to dreads either. There were 5 players with dreads starting for the Gamecocks' defense. The most productive of those in this game were junior S Pierre Warren, who had a game high 10 tackles (9-1); sophomore S Brandon Bender, who finished with 7 tackles (7-0) and 2 PBU; and junior DT Sean Watson (5 tackles (3-2), 2 TFL). Last season's loss to JSU sent TSU into a tailspin that dropped them out of playoff consideration. They figure to do a lot better this year, but the big test will be in Week 9, when Eastern Illinois comes to Nashville.
I just couldn't do it ...... Murray State sophomore QB Maikhail Miller certainly had enough yards to be on the dread stars list. He rushed for 63 yards and 1 TD and passed for 292 yards and 3 TD against Southeast Missouri State. But I just can't put him on the list. The 2 INT he threw I can live with, especially when you throw 45 passes. But it was that other turnover that cost him. With the Racers needing only a FG to win in the 2nd overtime, Maikhail fumbled the ball away at the 5-yard line on a run that would have picked up a 1st down. When you blow a chance like that, you don't deserve to win, and the Racers didn't, losing on a FG in the 3rd OT 37-34. Miller, the transfer from Mississippi, figures to continue to have strong performances this season and is looking like a lock to be the starting QB on the 2013 all-America with dreads team. But this one had to sting, because it hurts when you're so close to winning but can't finish the job.
In the Missouri Valley the team with the best dreads by far is Southern Illinois. Watching their season opener against Illinois, I noticed no fewer than 5 players with sick dreads. But evidently this is more than just another team with a lot of great dreads. The Salukis might be playoff bound if they keep this up. They followed up last week's road win over South Dakota State with another road win over a top 10 opponent, winning 24-17 in OT over #4 Northern Iowa. The win improves SIU to 4-3, 2-1 in the MVFC. SIU dominated in total yards 451-235, but a 79-yard pick 6 by UNI kept SIU from extending their 14-0 lead. And then at the end of the 4th quarter the Salukis missed a chip shot 29-yard FG that would have won the game.
Sophomore WR Jamal Abdur-Rahman rushed for 36 yards and had 6 catches for 89 yards, and junior LB Joey Harmon had 5 tackles (1-4) and his 1st INT of the season as Villanova improved to 3-0 in the CAA, winning at #3 Towson 45-35 ..... Senior WR Rob Jones had a 71-yard TD run and a late 4th quarter 20-yard TD catch that allowed Delaware to tie the game (with a 2-point conversion) with 1:42 to play, and moments later the Blue Hens kicked a FG on the last play of the game to defeat Albany 33-30 ..... Sophomore RB Shepard Little rushed for 68 yards and 1 TD and had a 43-yard TD catch as Eastern Illinois improved to 5-1 with a 63-7 blowout of Austin Peay ..... Junior CB Denzel Rice had 8 tackles (8-0), 1 TFL, and his 1st INT of the season as Coastal Carolina improved to 6-0 with a 42-7 home win over Gardner-Webb ..... Sophomore S Naim Cheeseboro took an INT return 52 yards to the house for Stony Brook's 1st pick 6 in 4 years in a 27-3 road win over Colgate .....
Junior CB Terry Johnson had 4 tackles (4-0), 1 sack, 2 PBU, and took a punt return 63 yards to the house (left and right photos) as FAMU ended a 4-game losing streak with a 27-14 road win over Savannah State; freshman LB Marquis Smith had 9 tackles (5-4), 2 TFL, and a 46-yard pick 6 for SSU ..... Freshman DE James Robinson had 3 tackles (3-0), all 3 of which were TFL, including 1 sack, to help South Carolina State hold North Carolina Central to only 105 total yards in a 44-3 road win for SCSU ..... Junior LB Bishop Neal took a fumble return on the opening kickoff 8 yards to the house and finished with 4 tackles (3-1) and 1.5 TFL; and junior WR Terrell Smith had an 18-yard reception for his 2nd TD of the season for St. Francis (PA) in a 28-10 home win over Monmouth ..... Senior WR Jordan Harris almost made the dread stars list, finishing with 6 catches for 92 yards along with 4 tackles (3-1) and 1 FF on special teams, but Bryant lost at home to Brown 41-14 .....
That was my reaction after reading the recap of the Troy at Georgia State game. Not because of what happened, but because I missed what happened. I had the game on the list of several games starting at 2:30 PM that I wanted to watch. But I never got around to turning it on. And so I did not see any part of the best game in the career of Troy senior WR Chris Williams. A 2nd team selection on my dread all-America team last season, Williams' awesome dreads are looking good to make 1st team this year.
Usually not on the field for very many snaps, Chris was in the starting lineup last Saturday, replacing an injured teammate. And he took full advantage of the opportunity, making the dread stars list for the first time and scoring his 1st TD since he was a freshman at Mississippi Valley State in 2009. His 54-yard catch and run with 3:17 remaining in the game was the winning TD in the Trojans' 35-28 victory over Georgia State.
I found it strange when Williams transferred from MVSU to Troy following his sophomore season. I mean, if you're good enough to play at the FBS level, what were you doing playing in the SWAC. Well, now I know why - the reason was financial. Thanks to his big game, the Dothan Eagle did a story on him a couple of days ago (link below). Hopefully this is the start to a strong finish to his career, a finish that hopefully will propel him to a pro football career somewhere. No doubt Chris needs to play football for a living - because I don't imagine there are a lot of other good-paying jobs out there where they let you have dreadlocks like his.
8. Sophomore WR Marcus Johnson beats CB Kass Everett deep, makes the catch and takes it to the house for a 59-yard TD on 3rd and 11, increasing Texas' lead over Oklahoma to 17-3 midway through 2nd quarter at Dallas. It was Johnson's 1st career TD and his only reception of the day. Texas improved to 3-0 in the Big 12 and dealt the Sooners' their 1st loss of the season, 36-20.
9. Sick senior LB Raheem Cardwell of Prairie View A&M brings down Alabama State WR Nehemiah Henry after a 17-yard reception that converted a 1st and 15 during 2nd quarter at Montgomery. The drive ended with a TD 8 plays later, tying the game at 14. It was another busy day for Cardwell, who currently is 3rd in the SWAC in tackles. He finished with 15 tackles (7-8), including 1 TFL.
10. Junior RB Isaiah Crowell leaves S David Metcalf behind and races 33 yards to the house, tying the game at 7 with 9:50 remaining in 1st quarter. Unfortunately Crowell injured his ankle the next time he carried the ball and finished with 51 yards and 2 TD on 7 carries, missing out on a chance to put up big numbers against PVAMU's porous defense. Alabama State improved to 5-2 with a thrilling 48-42 win in OT.
- Melvin Gordon - Wisconsin - 22 carries for 172 yards rushing, including 71-yard TD, in 35-6 homecoming W over Northwestern
- Julian Jones - Arkansas State - 4 receptions for 135 yards and 1 TD in 48-24 home W over Idaho
- Chris Williams - Troy - 4 receptions for career high 152 yards, including 54-yard game-winning TD, in 35-28 road W over Georgia State
- Tevin Reese - Baylor - 5 receptions for career high 184 yards, including TDs of 93 and 54 yards, in 35-25 road W over Kansas State
- Sammy Watkins - Clemson - 7 receptions for 101 yards, including 48-yard TD, in 24-14 home W over Boston College
Calvin Pryor - Louisville - named AAC defensive player of the week - career high 14 tackles (11-3), 1 TFL, and 1 INT in 24-10 home W over Rutgers
Senorise Perry - Louisville - 13 carries for 104 yards and 1 TD rushing as Cardinals improve to 6-0
- Jay Ajayi - Boise State - 22 carries for 109 yards rushing and 1 TD in 34-23 road W over Utah State
- Tre Mason - Auburn - 100 yards and 2 TD rushing on only 6 carries in 62-3 rout of Western Carolina - Auburn gained school record 712 total yards
- Vintavious Cooper - East Carolina - 87 yards and 2 TD rushing on 22 carries, and 6 receptions for 84 yards in 36-33 road L in 3 OT to Tulane
- James Baker - Idaho - 23 carries for 150 yards rushing and 2 TD in 48-24 L at Arkansas State
- Travis Reynolds - Utah State - 5 receptions for career high 142 yards in 34-23 home L to Boise State
- Marcus Washington - Nicholls State - 23 carries for 77 yards and 3 TD rushing, and 2 receptions for 16 yards in 33-21 home W over Northwestern State - sadly, it was last game for Washington, a senior, as he suffered season-ending knee injury in 4th quarter
- Leland Baker - Alabama State - named SWAC defensive player of the week - career high 17 tackles (8-9), 3.5 TFL, and 1.5 sacks in 48-42 home W over Prairie View A&M in OT
- Gus Johnson - Stephen F. Austin - 21 carries for 106 yards and 1 TD rushing, 1 reception for 16 yards in 56-14 road L to Southeastern Louisiana
- Julian Burton - Missouri State - 6 receptions for 128 yards, including 65-yard TD, in 41-26 road L to North Dakota State
- Daniel Taylor - Northwestern State - 8 carries for 102 yards and 1 TD rushing in 33-21 L at Nicholls State
HOUSE OF DREAD
It started out looking like it was going to be the usual for reserve RB Malcolm Cyrus. So far this season Cyrus, a junior for Alabama State, has enjoyed good success but in a minor role, as star RB Isaiah Crowell has gotten the majority of the carries for the Hornets. And Crowell was off to a great start last Saturday, gaining 39 yards on his first 2 carries. But when he went down with a sprained ankle on his 3rd carry, it was Malcolm's time to shine. And did he ever, finishing the afternoon with a THREE HUNDRED yard game as ASU won a shootout over Prairie View A&M 48-42 in overtime.
In a game where both team gained more than 630 yards, Cyrus was the player with he most, earning SWAC co-offensive player of the week honors after rushing 24 times for a career high 241 yards and 2 TD and catching 4 passes for 60 yards. His 80-yard TD run in the 3rd quarter, giving ASU a 28-21 lead, was the longest run of his career. The 28 touches were his most ever, so it's not surprising that he had to leave the game for a while with leg cramps in the 4th quarter (bottom photo). But he was back in the game during overtime, and his 7-yard TD run (after PVAMU missed a FG attempt on their possession) was the game winner. Nice going, Malcolm. You and Isaiah, go ahead and keep trying to prove me wrong by keeping ASU as the Division 1 team with the most TD by players with dreads again this season.
Week 8 is all about Florida State at Clemson. But I'll also try to check out Texas Tech-West Virginia, North Dakota State-Southern Illinois, Auburn-Texas A&M, LSU-Mississippi, Iowa State-Baylor, ODU-Pittsburgh, and Wisconsin-Illinois.